Assessing the Surface Metrology of Orthopaedic Implants

Monday, October 22, 2018

Surgical implants represent some of the greatest steps forward in medical innovation of the last century. Orthopaedic surgeons routinely custom-build medical implants to replace missing joints or bones in the skeletal structures of patients. Dental implants comprised of artificial veneer material and a false, titanium root are increasingly commonplace. Cardiothoracic surgeons can replace damaged or diseased tissue in the human heart and implant false heart valves with life-saving ramifications.

These pioneering devices are subject to stringent quality control certifications. Assessing the surface metrology of surgical implants is a widely accepted method for predicting the longevity of bio-receptive implants.

This blog post will explore the importance of surface metrology for surgical implants in more detail, with a focus on orthopaedics:

Surface Metrology of Orthopaedic Implants
Orthopaedic implants such as hip replacements are among the most common medical prostheses developed for surgical procedures. They are engineered to simulate the characteristics of a joint including its geometry, range of motion, and load bearing capacity. Materials used to fabricate the prosthesis must therefore display outstanding strength and good wear characteristics, which is why surgical implants are typically manufactured from high-purity titanium, ceramic, or leading-edge biomaterials.

The surface metrology of these materials is critical for meeting the exacting specifications of prosthesis performance to ensure patients benefit from the invasive surgery for as long as possible.

Wearing is the primary cause of osteolysis of the femur. Degeneration of cartilage in the hip joint leads to abrasive contact between the femoral head and cup, which can lead to osteoarthritis – a condition believed to affect well over 28 million people in the US. Degradation from friction can be mimicked by the mating surfaces of prostheses, if connecting components exhibit incompatible profiles with regards to their surface metrology.

Taylor Hobson’s Talyrond systems have been used to comprehensively measure the surface metrology of surgical implants with an exceptionally high tolerance, to meet strict international standards. This technique uses a high-resolution measurement gauge with a non-contact spindle to determine the roundness, straightness, and cylindricity of the prosthesis. The form and topography of rounded surfaces such as the femoral head and cup of an artificial prosthesis can be assessed with negligible form error and outstanding surface smoothness. Assessing the surface metrology of orthopaedic implants in this manner supports the extension of the implant longevity and its resistance to characteristic wearing in vivo.

Surface Metrology with Taylor Hobson

Taylor Hobson designs, manufactures, and supplies leading surface metrology instrumentation for a broad range of applications. Our cutting-edge instrumentation has been used to enhance the performance characteristics of medical devices in a range of surgical fields.

If you would like any more information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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